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Day Four.........Lakes And Tunnels.

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    Day Four.........Lakes And Tunnels.

    Day Four

    After waking up this morning and having breakfast we had to meet a coach outside to take our trip to the Yoho national park, spiral tunnels, Emerald Lake and Lake Louise. The day coach tour is still part of the Rocky Mountaineer package. As soon as I went outside I realised that there had been snow overnight. Banff is a beautiful place normally but, at the foot of the snow covered mountains, with all the roofs of the wooden buildings covered it snow it truly looked spectacular.

    Our tour guide on the coach was fantastic. Along the way he broke from the exact itinerary and took us to various photo points we even managed to go for a hike (albeit a short one) into the woods. As we travelled along the guide was incredibally knowledgeable, funny and informative making a hours coach journey fly by.

    First stop was the famous Spiral Tunnels. Yesterday on the train, we went through both of these. Today we went to a view point where you could see the lower tunnels entrance. If you are not familiar with the Spiral tunnels they are basically two tunnels that were bored into the foot of two mountains in British Columbia. Back when they were building the train track from BC to Alberta, they had to build a very dangerous steep section of track which was a 4.5% decline (by law they were not meant to build a railway on anything above a 2.2). This stretch of track was very dangerous for run away trains and also cost a huge amount to maintain ( when a train was going up more engines were needed). A solution had to be found. Here they looked into what the Swiss were doing to solve similar problems in the Alps. What they did was bore into the sides of Mt Cathedral and Mt Ogden. In order to to decrease the gradient they created two tunnels that went into the side of the mountain. These tunnels went around inside the mountain almost 360 degrees in a spiral, so where the trains entered the tunnel was almost directly above where the train exited.

    Next was the Emerald lake. The sun was out and the water was crystal clear with a green tint. I can only describe the views as incredible. We followed the lake along until we came to a jetty that strutted out onto the lake. I sat at the end of the jetty with my legs dangling over by the water. Two huge snow covered peaks were on the opposite side from us and the still crystal clear water reflected the mountains creating an almost perfect symmetry. The only ripples were caused by a lone canoeist. It really was very beautiful.

    Finally came the big part of the day. After a 20 minute coach journey we arrived at the famous Lake Louise. The Fairmount hotel dominates the lower end of the lake. If you are not familiar with Lake Louise( it was named after Queen Victoria's 4th child) then I'm sure you would of seen a picture. A huge turquoise blue lake at the foot of two mountains with a huge hotel commanding views over the lake. If I am entirely honest it's was incredibly beautiful but, for me the Emerald Lake for beauty would still win by a whisker. The hotel itself is a complete resort restaurants, shops, cafe's etc. After a quick bite to eat at the saloon bar on site, we followed a path along the side of the lake for about 1.5 miles. Once we arrived at the end of the lake, I looked back and you could just see the Fairmont in the distance again reflecting if the turquoise blue water.

    Tomorrow it's Banff To Calgary and a gondola ride. I will let you know more tomorrow.
    Please call me on 0800 408 6079 or email me at dyland@cruise.co.uk

    Why not visit my cruise blog and learn a little bit more about me!


    Your making it sound like a Must do ,really good read first thing in a morning..Taffy


      I can't wait to do it. It sounds incredible........................................ ...........................Carol


        I'm glad you saw Lake Louise in its natural colour of turquoise blue. When we visited, it was late May and the lake was still mostly frozen over. My daughter had been so looking forward to seeing its 'blueness' she was rather disappointed! But we were treated to a spectacularly huge avalanche of snow on the opposite side of the lake whilst we were there. The others went on the LL gondola ride and enjoyed the wonderful views from the mountain top.....a bit too cold for me! I don't think they saw any grizzlies but we did have a couple of close sightings of black bears elsewhere, one was of a mother and her two large cubs. Fabulous.


          All sounds fabulous this trip is on our "Bucket list" for 2015...
          Lancashire Cunarder


            We did the Via rail journey in 1982, from Vancouver to Kenora in N.W. Ontario, where my sister lived. Your descriptions are taking me back, but we then couldn't afford luxury seating, we just had a seat with an elevated footstool, which we slept in as well.
            On another journey to Canada I visited Lake Louise and was so taken with the view that I had a painting done by a local artist. It is still on my lounge wall, so you can understand how I was effected my the colour of the water.


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